“Russia wants war”: Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls for peace and war crimes tribunal in speech to United Nations

United Nations — Speak in English to 193 countries United Nations General AssemblyUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a standing ovation in the hall, which was packed with world leaders and his own wife, First Lady Olena Zee, except for the Russian delegation and a handful of other countries Lenska.

Zelensky unable to travel to UN headquarters in New York City as situation escalates Russian attack. Just a few hours ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin announces massive mobilization Russian troops attacked Ukraine and began preparations for a referendum to formally occupy parts of Ukraine. The referendum is considered fake by the US and EU.

Earlier this year, the United Nations decided that a leader must speak at headquarters this year. However, the assembly approved Zelensky’s exception by a vote of 101 to 7. The members who voted against his statement were Belarus, Cuba, North Korea, Eritrea, Nicaragua, Russia and Syria.

UN Diplomatic Conference - Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appears on screen as he speaks remotely at the 77th United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2022.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

“It’s not just a vote on form. It’s a vote on principle,” Zelensky said in a speech on Wednesday. “Seven people who are afraid of video addresses. Seven people who respond to principles with red buttons. Only seven. One hundred and one — and seven more.”

The Ukrainian president went on to detail atrocities committed against civilians in the country and asked the United Nations to hold Russia accountable for the alleged crimes.He said a family – a father, a mother, a 6-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl and their grandparents – were killed in a Russian airstrike, he pointed to Mass grave recently discovered in Igyum.

Zelensky said the United Nations should recognize Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism.”

“After the Russian missile terror. After the massacre. After Mariupol,” he said. “After the burning of Ukrainian prisoners by Russian troops in Olenivka. After the blockade of the port. After the attack on the nuclear power plant by Russian tanks and missiles. After the threat to use nuclear weapons, which became the rule, not the exception, for Russian propagandists .. …”

Zelensky outlined five “preconditions” for peace with Russia: punishment for aggression; protection of life; restoration of security and territorial integrity; security; and determination to defend itself. He also called on the United Nations to create a special court “to punish Russia for its aggression against our country.”

“This will be a signal to all ‘possible’ aggressors that they must value peace or they must take responsibility for the world,” he said.

Quoting the UN Charter, as in President Biden did it hours earlierZelensky asked for more military and financial support.

“We didn’t start this war,” he said. “From the beginning of my presidency to February 24 this year, we held 88 rounds of talks of various forms to prevent this war.”

But instead of finding a way forward, Russia began a “full-scale” aggression, he said.

“Russia wants war. It’s a fact. But Russia will not be able to stop the course of history. Humanity and international law are stronger than a terrorist state,” he said. “Russia will be forced to end this war. The war it has already started.”

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